Layover in London

 

A Three-Hour Architectural Tour For The Intrepid Traveler.

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In the bustling financial center of London, breaks between meetings present a unique opportunity to break out of the matrix.
Whether caught on an extended layover or simply find yourself with a few hours to spare, follow this three-hour tour of the city’s renowned architecture sites.

The stunning skyscrapers in London’s Central Business District are often glossed over from the plazas below, but the glass and steel towers are architectural marvels worth noting. In this hub of innovation, the office buildings themselves can inspire creativity, or encourage a spur-of-the-moment digression through the city streets.

An ideal starting point is 30 St Mary Axe (affectionately dubbed The Gherkin): a beacon of contemporary architecture and an entrepreneurial nexus located in the heart of the Central Business District. Its spiraling structure made of 7,429 glass windows has become an emblem of the London skyline, and from the ground, the sparkling geometric windows are visible beyond the historic buildings.

A short distance away is the equally spectacular Lloyd’s at 1 Lime Street. The futuristic building wears its lifts and ducts on the exterior in Bowellism style to maximize interior space. Completed in 1986, Lloyd’s gained Grade 1 listed building status twenty-five years later, making it the youngest architectural site to do so.

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Heading towards the water from Lloyd’s, wayfarers will soon encounter the Millennium Bridge, a 1,066 foot pedestrian passageway joining the Bankside district of London with the City of London. After a stop at the historic St. Paul’s  Cathedral, follow the bridge across the water to the Tate Modern to experience England’s storied history and vibrant culture in one fell swoop.

On the other side of the Thames, take a quick stroll from the Tate to the crown jewel of London’s architectural gems, The Shard, designed by award–winning architect Renzo Piano. As the tallest building in the European Union, the metallic pyramidal tower beckons residents and tourists alike to explore its panoramic views and the unforgettable restaurants and cafés within. For a new perspective on the landscape in one of the world’s most architecturally rich cities, the best destination to end a walk through the streets is the view from atop the clouds.